Five things Preston North End fans need to know about new boy Josh Ginnelly after his move from Walsall
Walsall winger Josh Ginnelly has become Preston North End's first signing of the January transfer window.
Below we take a closer look at the 21-year-old former Burnley man who can’t make his Lilywhites debut until the game against Swansea on January 12.
PNE hope they’ve got another Callum Robinson
When you listen to Alex Neil speak about Josh Ginnelly it is clear they think they’ve got another Callum Robinson. There are plenty of similarities. From the haircut to the playing style the comparisons are obvious. Ginnelly is a pacey, tricky winger who can play on either flank and will give North End a much-needed boost in the final third given their injuries this season. Having got him in the building the PNE boss will be hoping the new No.17 can develop under his management like Robinson has, the Republic of Ireland international having an excellent season before being sidelined by a hamstring injury.
Burnley wasn’t where he was schooled
The Robinson comparison extends to his upbringing as well. Ginnelly is regularly described as a former Burnley man but he didn’t move to East Lancashire until 2015. The Coventry-born wide man in fact played most of his youth football at Aston Villa like Robinson, Daniel Johnson and Graham Burke. Unlike the others he was released at 16 however before being picked up by Shrewsbury Town where he was offered a scholarship. On his arrival Ginnelly admitted it was nice to have some familiar faces in the building, even if they were all a few years ahead of him at Villa Park.
Winger will hope to settle at Deepdale after bouncing around
Having impressed at Shrewsbury Ginnelly made his first-team debut as a 17-year-old in August 2014. Plenty was expected of him at the New Meadow but with his contract situation up in the air and his services in demand, he turned down a professional deal with the Shrews and made the move to Burnley in the summer of 2015. After failing to make a breakthrough at Turf Moor, Ginnelly arrived at former loan club Walsall in the summer on his release having also spent temporary spells at Altrincham, Lincoln and Tranmere. Played just 25 times for the Saddlers, scoring four goals, before PNE had seen enough to snap him up.
He’s been part of a dramatic Wembley win
Last season he spent time on loan at Lincoln, a second spell with the Imps having won promotion from the National League, before a move to Tranmere for the second-half of the campaign where he linked up with the manager who gave him his Football League debut at Shrewsbury - Micky Mellon. There he helped Rovers to promotion back to the Football League. Ginnelly scored in the play-off semi-final win over Ebbsfleet before playing the first half an hour of the Wembley win over Boreham Wood before being replaced. It was a remarkable final, the winger being struck by a bottle thrown from the crowd in the celebrations that followed Tranmere’s opening goal. Rovers had earlier seen defender Liam Ridehalgh sent off after just 54 seconds but prevailed 2-1. A second promotion and not one the winger will forget in a hurry.
Ginnelly fits the PNE buying pattern
As with many signings at Deepdale Ginnelly doesn’t arrive in Lancashire ready-made, far from it. He’s gone from the National League to the Championship in the space of seven months and will be raw at this level. But North End’s buying power compared to the rest of the division means this is the kind of market they will continue to operate in. Spot a good player, do a deal, Ginnelly was out of contract in the summer in this case, and then nurture him once he’s part of the dressing room. Life may be easier if he had more money but you feel this is something Neil, an out and out coach who loves to work with his players on the training pitch, relishes.